About Risley International Academy of Innovation
Risley Vision Statement: Our students deserve teachers who hold them to high expectations and believe in their success. Risley staff is committed to working as a team to create a common school focus and embedded systems so that ALL students receive rigorous, high level instruction and appropriate support based on individual needs. Students will leave Risley prepared to lead a life of purpose and impact.
Risley Core Values:
- We believe in doing what’s best for students.
- We believe our staff has shared responsibility for our students – all means all.
- We believe in clear, high expectations, and we will hold ourselves and each other accountable to meeting those expectations.
- We believe that students excel and learn most effectively in a structured learning environment, so we provide it.
- We believe teachers are the backbone of our school, and we value, utilize, and support their work, their thinking, and their commitment to students.
About the School Name
Risley Junior High opened in 1949, named after James H. Risley, who served as a Superintendent of Pueblo School District 1 for 25 years – 1921 to 1946 – and became the first Superintendent of District 60 when it was formed through consolidation of Districts 1 and 20.
At a salary of $6,000, Mr. Risley came to Pueblo from Kentucky, where history notes that “no other educator has made a greater impression upon the state than he has.”
When he arrived here, Pueblo was a city that had been devastated by a historic flood. The rushing waters had extensively damaged several schools.
The flood not withstanding, Mr. Risley's tenure was marked by rapid population growth, which necessitated the building of new schools to accommodate the population spike.
In 1922, voters approved a bond which gave the District the funds to build new schools.In 1926, the first junior high school was built on the South Side and another was built on the East Side: this later became Risley International Academy of Innovation.
Although Mr. Risley retired in 1946, the year District 60 was formed, he was designated as Superintendent Emeritus and continued to do work for the District.
In 1953, Mr. Risley’s book, “How It Grew: A History of the Pueblo Public Schools,” was published by the University of Denver Press.